During the record-smashing hurricane season of 2005, a deadly game of cat and mouse unfolds and a stormy love affair is complicated by polarized politics, high-strung Southern families, a full-on media circus and the worst disaster management goat screw in US history.
As Hurricane Katrina howls toward the ill-prepared city of New Orleans, Dr. Corbin Thibodeaux, a Gulf Coast climatologist and storm risk specialist, preaches the gospel of evacuation, weighed down by the fresh public memory of a spectacularly false alarm a year earlier.
Meanwhile, Shay Hoovestahl, a puff piece reporter for the local news, stumbles on the story of a con artist who uses storm-related chaos as cover for identity theft and murder. Laying a trap to expose the killer, Shay discovers that Corbin, her former lover, is unwittingly involved, and her plan goes horribly awry as the city's infrastructure crumbles.
The Hurricane Lover is a fast-paced, emotionally charged tale of two cities, two families, and two desperate people seeking shelter from the storm.
Rodgers, a bestselling author and ghostwriter living on the Gulf Coast, volunteered during relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and experienced Hurricanes Rita and Ike firsthand. She writes knowingly about the dramatic megastorms, weaving in elegant meteorology and riveting transcripts of actual emails sent and received by FEMA director Michael Brown (later released through the Freedom of Information Act.)
"I wanted to share the story of that summer in a very personal way," says Rodgers. "With human faces, families, all the love and heartache and laughter that is part of life, even in the most extreme situations. I wanted readers to know what happened here. We witnessed enormous destruction and a lot of dirty deeds, yes, but we also witnessed the power of compassion and an overwhelming tide of lovingkindness. These hurricanes - Katrina and Rita - taught me something important, the essence of what I hope readers will take away from this novel: there are more good people in the world than bad. And whatever our differences, we are capable of loving each other."
Praise for books by Joni Rodgers:
"Rodgers is a pure storyteller. She writes with a wit, lyricism, humanity and joy that make her books impossible to put down."
Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin
“At its best, her prose is dazzling, risky and intoxicating.”
Bestselling author/O Magazine book reviewer Pam Houston
"Alternately wrenching and humorous...Rodgers' strength is a knack for realistic characters who show their faults unselfconsciously and a womanly wise, laugh-through-tears appreciation of life."
"Every character resonates with life."
Southern Living Magazine
"Unconventional love scenes scorch the pages… Rodgers is a terrific discovery."
"Wise [storytelling] choices and the right amount of grit."
“Rodgers lives, loves and writes without a safety net… managing the rare literary feat of being painful and funny in one urgent breath.”